I’m “that” mom….

Yes I love my kids, love to spend time with them, travel with them, laugh and learn with them.   I’m that mom.

If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have chosen this lifestyle for us.

Kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?

However, the following statements are also true:

I’m that mom who says “Sure!  Bike riding in Central Park twice a week would be great!” but then keeps forgetting to haul out and clean the bikes, pump up the tires, adjust the seats….  Until her daughter reminds her that it is now almost August and we have gone bike riding exactly once all summer.  On rented bikes.

I’m that mom who hates cooking.   I do it, but it does not bring me joy or catharsis.  My take out menus are no longer really necessary as I have memorized the phone numbers and menus of all our favorite restaurants.    Oh, and once a week we get McDonalds.  On purpose.  And we call it “fat day”.

I’m that mom who, every now and then, completely loses patience with my kids and yells – usually about something stupid like dishes or laundry.  (In my defense, I apologize once sanity has returned.)

I’m that mom who goes to the beach with her kids but forgets to bring water or snacks or on occasion, sunscreen.

I’m that mom who buys organic, eschews hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup and has a homeopathic doctor, but who loves Diet Coke.   Who doesn’t care that her kids also love Diet Coke.    (And coffee.  And Ruffles potato chips. And Fritos.)

I’m that mom who loves going to movies more than going on a hike in the woods.

Are you getting the idea?  I’m not that “perfect” mom.  Then again, there is no such thing.  Anybody who tells you different is lying.

I love my kids.  I love talking with them, traveling with them, living and learning with them.  I do my best to help them when they need it, provide them opportunities to pursue their interests and expose them to new and fun ideas and experiences whenever possible.  Sometimes I don’t do it as well as I should, or even as I could.

That’s ok.  Accepting my own imperfections and failures is part of the journey.   Celebrating the good and the fun is another.

If you’ve also chosen the unschooling path, be yourself.  Do your best.  Love your kids. Keep learning.  That’s all anyone can ask for and all that your kids need.




22 comments on “I’m “that” mom….

  1. Tracy M. says:

    That was AWESOME Amy… and yeah, I’m “that” mom too… :)

  2. angel says:

    I am so grateful you wrote this. I have to admit, I almost didn’t read it, fearing another shameless fabrication of maternal perfection that I simply can’t relate to. I LOVE your “voice” and think it’s so necessary that we are honest about our experiences, so that struggling mamas aren’t left to think that “better” is on some far off pedestal, never to be achieved. Keep. Writing. And thank you.

  3. Molly Blazor says:

    I’m “that mom” too. Love your post, it’s so real. I know a few people that seem to love spreading a jazzed up unrealistic version of themselves around the internet (facebook?) and it drives me crazy. Crazy! I just want to yell at them, “I’ve seen your real life and the real you, and this is NOT it!”. It’s always nice to find other real moms out there who don’t have to feign perfection. Kudos!

  4. I totally embrace being “that mom”. And I personally find it more encouraging to read stories of others who keep it real! Not to mention that this is truly what our own children need to see. Us, being human, making mistakes, owning up to them and saying we’re sorry when we fail.

    The beach trip comment rang a little too true for my comfort. 😉

  5. Thank you for writing this. I’d had something along the same lines bouncing around in my head for a while now, but my version wasn’t so positive. :/ I really love yours, and now I don’t feel like I have to write mine.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Breezy and Rebecca and Molly and Angel and Tracy! Your words of agreement and support mean more than you know, and are what inspire me to keep writing.

  6. SJ says:

    I almost cried reading this. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I am so sick of blogs with “perfect” mothers and kids plastered all over them. Only last night I read one about unfooding and there was a picture of the child making herself a fruit salad and the mother was going on about how she herself eats a natural and whole food diet and as a result her kids do too, with full freedom too. Great. Great for her is she herself can be that healthy. But you know what? I don’t. I don’t eat a natural and whole food diet because I have an eating disorder. THERE, I said it. And because I don’t eat healthy myself I am SO worried about giving my daughter full food freedom because I’m worried she will copy my style and only want to eat junk. I provide her with all the healthy fruits and vegetables, and a great variety of choice, but still the worry is there – the worry that full food freedom only works if the parent themselves models 90% health. Because this is all you read on Facebook and on the blogs. Not once have I heard a parent come out and admit that they themselves struggle with healthy eating, but by allowing their own child freedom and choice, the child themselves grew with healthy food values. Not once! I keep reading, over and over, how we somehow have to turn ourselves into this super human, in order to “model” for our child, so the child can in turn end up with a great unschooling experience. And yet somehow that doesn’t seem fair to ME? I too have my struggles, and surely embracing those and being real with those is far better than forcing myself, miserably, to model some sort of perfect existence? You are a star for writing this. THIS is actually what we all need to hear.

    • Amy says:

      SJ, thank you so much for this comment, and don’t worry! I completely agree with Monique – your own eating habits will not automatically transfer to your child. You’re doing the best you can for your daughter. The fact that you are honest and aware is more than half the battle. All the best to you!

  7. I’m ‘that mom’ too :) I just wrote a post that resounds with yours on Monday http://www.eco-babyz.com/2013/07/quit-trying-to-be-perfect-mom.html

  8. Heidi says:

    Loved this! I’m that mom too. Glad to know there are others out there

  9. Monique says:

    SJ, I just want to say that it is possible to teach good eating without being perfect yourself. I am a horrible eater, I eat junk food way too often, eat too much in general because I don’t feel full until I’m overfull (a result of always being forced to “clear my plate”). And you know what? By not making a big deal of food either way, not pushing the good stuff too much and not forcing them to finish their plate, my kids make pretty good decisions. The older one does better than the younger one, but they both still eat fruit if I have it in the house. I just leave it in a bowl on the table. I keep carrots in the fridge most of the time. My older ones begs for meatloaf about once a week, lol. I’m not totally sure what “unfooding” is, that’s the first time I’ve heard that term, but I know that by not making a big deal out of what they eat and don’t eat, they have managed to become better eaters than me. I still sneak junk food (cause I don’t want them to see me eating it, lol) and I still eat too much. But they are still doing better than me. I hope this helps you feel better. I could hear the pain in your comment and it makes me sad. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying :)

  10. Phaydra says:

    I loved reading this and here’s why. Well, there’s lots of reason, but first is because being a parent is a daunting uphill struggle. Yes, it is the most satisfying and rewarding and enriching journey a person will ever experience, we all know that, but its hard and it doesn’t end until you die, maybe not even then. Who knows? But several facets of our society seem to stigmatize admitting what all of us know are some of the other truths of parenting. It usually takes a strong parent to say it out loud so a good portion of the rest of us can exhale and say, loudly, “wow, me too!” So thanks for the opportunity to commiserate.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Phaydra and Ileana. I think the imperfect moms are an amazing group of people! (At least those I know or have “met” here…)

  11. ILEANA CARTHAN says:

    Im that mom and not ashamed because I also confess to my kids Im not perfect, I will make mistakes, Im not too proud to apologize but my love, desire and effort are endless….Im that mom because Im human too.

  12. If we’re perfect people, how can we model learning (not to mention authenticity) for our life learning children? 😉 Great post, once again, Amy.

  13. […] blog post entitled I’m “That” Mom by blogger Amy Milstein provides a positive and humorous perspective on how nobody is a perfect […]

  14. […] written about this before, but I believe it is well worth spending the time to talk about […]

  15. Natasha says:

    I am a blogger who got tired of all the perfection I was seeing from perfect crafts to parenting to living – enough. YOU have struck a chord in me, excited me and made me celebrate again. YOU are a fantastic writer – fantastic Mom and woman because you are honest and that’s inspiring as hell. Thanks for being YOU and inspiring others to be their beautiful imperfect selves!

    • Amy says:

      Wow, thank you so much Natasha! It is comments like yours that inspire me to keep writing and sharing all the imperfect things I know. :-)

      Best regards,
      p.s. I went on your website and your art and photography are beautiful! Love the unedited panorama shot at the water..

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